Last updated: August 11, 2021

Welcome to our big smoking chips test 2021. Here we present all the smoking chips that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the internet. We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best smoking chips for you. You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy smoking chips.




The most important facts

  • Smoking chips are small pieces of wood that give off a certain aroma to your grilled food when heat is added.
  • Smoking chips can be used in all common grills. Whether smoker, charcoal, gas or electric grill - the smoking chips provide an extraordinary smoke aroma.
  • You can also put the smoking chips in alcoholic drinks to give the aroma a slightly different note.

Smoking chips: Our Picks

We have looked at various products and compared them with each other. These smoking chips are our favourites:

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying smoking chips

What are smoking chips?

Smoking chips (wood chips) are a variant of the so-called "smokewood" and are used to give the respective grilled food (meat/fish/vegetables/etc.) a suitable aroma. These are small pieces of wood that develop smoke when added directly to the embers and release the respective aroma onto the food.

Smoking chips are small pieces of wood that offer your grilled food an enticing aroma. (Image source: unsplash.com / Ananth Pai)

Using different smoking chips can produce a different smell and taste. You can find out which wood is best for which foods below.

Who are smoking chips suitable for?

Basically, smoking chips are suitable for every barbecue enthusiast who wants to give their barbecued food an extraordinary smoky aroma. Whether smoker, charcoal grill, gas grill or electric grill - smoking chips can be used everywhere and are particularly suitable for beginners in the art of smoking due to their ease of use.

Smoking chips are suitable for all common grills and are easy to use. (Image source: unsplash.com / Nik MacMillan)

There are no limits to your creativity. Smoking chips give you the opportunity to adjust the flavour of your barbecue food to your liking and are sure to be the hero of any barbecue party!

How are smoking chips made?

Smoking chips are made with selected types of wood. Oily woods or those with a high resin content are unsuitable. So-called fruit woods are often used. Before the wood used is cut into small, fine pieces, the bark must be removed, as these are unsuitable for smoking. Furthermore, a certain drying time of the wood is required to achieve a low moisture content (< 18 %) and to optimise smoke development.

Only certain wood that is not rotten and untreated is used in the production of smoking chips. (Image source: unsplash.com / Peter Lewicki)

It should also be noted that rotten wood and wood that has been treated with chemicals (e.g. pesticides) is not used, as this could result in an undesirable taste and/or could be associated with health risks for the end consumer.

If you want to make your own smoking chips, make sure you use untreated wood that does not contain essential oils and does not have a high resin content.

How much do smoking chips cost?

As the choice of smoking chips is very large, the price range for them is also quite wide. Depending on the quality, brand and type of wood, the prices vary enormously. They can range from around €1.50/kg to €30/kg. Beech, apple, cherry or hickory wood, for example, are classic types of wood used to make smoking chips and are becoming increasingly popular. Much more exotic are the smoking chips made from whiskey or wine barrels that have become obsolete, which give off a unique flavour, and this is reflected in the price accordingly.

Which smoking chips for which food?

That basically depends on your taste! Nevertheless, there are woods that are more or less suitable for a food. Therefore, some common combinations are presented below.

  • Cherry: This wood gives off a rather mild smoke and lends a fruity aroma. It is therefore particularly suitable for (game) poultry, beef and pork.
  • Apple: This wood also has a rather mild smoke and is suitable for various types of fish, chicken and pork.
  • Beech: Probably the most popular smoking wood, its balanced properties make it very versatile.
  • Oak: Another popular smoking wood that forms a very strong smoke aroma and is therefore mainly used for red meat, fish and pork.
  • Hickory: This wood provides a rather sharp and intense flavour, which is why it is more often used for pork, chicken, beef and also cheese.
  • Pecan: Similar to hickory, but somewhat milder and is often combined with fish, lamb and pork.
  • (Walnut) wood: Such wood enlivens the grilled food with a pleasant nutty flavour and is therefore suitable for red meats.

Each type of wood gives off a different aroma and depends on your individual taste.

What are the alternatives to smoking chips?

In addition to smoking chips, there are other varieties of smoking wood. These include so-called smoking chunks, smoking flour and smoking chips. These are differentiated by the degree of grinding and the size. The variants are described in more detail below.
Alternative Description
Smoking Chunks Smoking Chunks are nothing more than large smoking chips. Because of the larger surface area, they don't catch fire quite as quickly and you don't have to refill them as often. They are often used in smokers or charcoal grills.
Smoking flour Smoking flour is more or less finely ground wood that is intended for the smoker. Since smoker's flour ignites itself very quickly, it is also used in gas grills. The flour is especially intended for cold smoking.
Smoking chips Smoking chips are in the middle of the coarsely chopped smoking chunks and the finely ground smoking flour. They are mainly used for hot smoking.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate smoking chips

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible smoking chips. The criteria you can use to compare smoking chips include:

  • Intended use
  • Smoke flavour or aroma
  • Size

In the following, we will explain what you need to consider for each of the comparison criteria.

Intended use

The most important criterion is the intended use. Are you a meat lover who wants to add a nutty flavour to your steak, or are you a vegetarian who wants to add some pizzazz to your vegetables? As mentioned above, different types of wood are suitable for different types of food. There are woods that are more suitable for red meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, cheese or fruit. In spite of everything, it is well known that tastes are debatable. In addition to smoking chips that are more suitable for red meat (e.g. nut woods), there are also real all-rounders that can be combined with (almost) any grilled food. These include apple and cherry wood, which are suitable for pork, poultry, fish and vegetables.

Smoke flavour or aroma

In addition to the intended use, the smoke flavour or aroma plays an important role. While many barbecue fans prefer an intense smoke flavour, there are also many who want a mild smoke flavour. The strength of the smoke and the aroma vary from wood to wood and accordingly also depend on the properties of the wood. The smoke flavour goes from mild to intense and smoky. Here, too, one can argue about tastes. For example, mesquite gives off a rather mild smoke aroma, while beech offers a particularly smoky aroma. On the other hand, fruit woods such as apple or cherry give your grilled food a particularly fruity taste experience.

Size

You should also consider the size of your smoking chips. The larger your smoking chips are, the less often you will have to add more. Accordingly, they burn more slowly and offer a consistently consistent smoke development. As an alternative to (somewhat) larger smoking chips, you can use the already mentioned smoking chunks. They are much more coarsely chopped, so they rarely need to be added and offer a constant smoke emission. As you can see, the size should play a role in your decision, but for a fast and intensive smoke development, normal smoking chips are sufficient.

Facts worth knowing about smoking chips

How do I use smoking chips?

There are different ways to use smoking chips. In the following, we will show you a simple method with which you will certainly be successful:

  • In a first step, soak the smoking chips in water for 30 to 60 minutes
  • When it is time to cook your food, put the drained smoking chips directly into the embers. Make sure you let them drain briefly, otherwise you could extinguish the embers.
  • Then close the lid of your barbecue so that the smoke aroma can spread and the smoking chips do not burn immediately.

To give you a better idea of the individual steps, we have selected the following video. Depending on your needs, you can now add smoking chips to achieve a more intense smoke aroma. The amount of smoking chips depends on the grill and should be tested individually.

When do I have to put smoking chips on?

The fire must already have died down, otherwise the smoking chips would burn quickly. In any case, the embers must still exist in order to get the smoke going. The easiest way is to put the smoking chips directly on the embers.

Do I have to water the smoking chips?

We advise you to soak your smoking chips in water for 30 to 60 minutes. This prevents the smoking chips from burning quickly and ensures a continuous smoke release. Why you should soak smoking chips before use is shown in the following video that we have selected for you. If you forget to do this or don't close the lid in time, it's not so bad. You can simply add new smoking chips and of course soak them in water first.

How many smoking chips do I need?

The amount of smoking chips you need basically depends on the grill you are using and the amount of food you are grilling. The more food you want to smoke, the more chips you need.

Grill quantity
kettle grill In a normal kettle grill, 50g is usually enough for an intensive aroma.
Electric grill In the electric grill, less than 50g is often enough, which you have to wrap in aluminium foil beforehand.
Gas grill The amount needed in a gas grill depends on the smoker box used.

Are you looking for the perfect smoker box for you? Then we have linked you to our comparison of the best smoke boxes.

How often do I have to add more smoking chips?

This basically depends on the chips you use and the heat / temperature in your grill. You can tell roughly from the colour of the smoke whether more chips are needed. Normally, the smoke should be white. It may also be a little darker, but it should never be very dark or take on a yellow/orange colour. Are you looking for the perfect smoker for you? Then we have linked our test page with the best smokers for you here.

Can I reuse smoking chips?

No, you cannot reuse smoking chips once they have burnt. However, if they were only on the embers for a short time, they will be reusable.

Can I put smoking chips in whiskey / wine / beer?

Smoking chips in particular are ideal for soaking in alcoholic drinks. The taste of the alcohol settles in the wood aroma and gives the whole thing a slightly different note. You don't have to leave the car in the barbecue because only the flavour, not the alcohol, settles in the barbecue food. It is sufficient to put the chips in the drink for about 15 minutes until they have absorbed enough liquid. As with water, you should allow the smoking chips to drain briefly before placing them on the embers. Bon appétit! Image source: unsplash.com / Vincent Keiman

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